Starting a Hospitality Business: What to Know

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Written By Leila Amber

Starting a hospitality business is a noble pursuit. You are launching a business that seeks to provide service and comfort to other people, after all.

However, since it does provide a service, it can also take a lot of work to start one and even much more to get it to a point of excellence. 

1. Conducting Market Research

As with any hospitality business, you probably want to earn revenue aside from providing stellar service. This is the reason why conducting market research is necessary for your hospitality business.

It is the process of investigating whether your hotel is going to be received positively by your target demographic or not. There are three primary factors that we suggest you look into when conducting market research.

i. Build or Buy?

The first one is to determine whether you should build or buy your own structure. Are there existing structures in the area that you can simply remodel into a hotel? How much is it going to take?

Are you going to save on capital this way, or will it cheaper to build it from scratch? Will this existing structure match the hotel that you have in mind? Will you be willing to compromise your vision?

ii. Investigate Other Hotels

Starting a Hospitality Business: 5 Simple Things for SuccessThe next factor to consider is your competition. How are they doing? Is your target location saturated with similar establishments already?

What can you offer that is unique compared to other hotels? How will you attract clients to choose your establishment over your competition?

iii. Understand Your Primary Market

Speaking of your clientele, who is your primary market? Are they families planning a staycation at a bed and breakfast? Are they business executives? Local tourists? Or foreigners?

Once you have determined your target demographic, you also need to consider their needs and preferences. Hotels that seek to cater to foreigners and business executives, for instance, would prefer a posh aesthetic.

Those who are thinking of offering bed and breakfast services to locals and families, on the other hand, would probably fare better in providing a cozier ambiance, or something that would remind them of home.

2. Initial Costs

The next step that you should do after conducting your market research is to estimate your initial capital. Again, there are three factors that you need to consider:

i. Renovation

Building your structure from the ground generally costs more than renovating an existing one. However, don’t think that it still won’t cost a hefty sum depending on how much you want to change the structure’s original look.

ii. Design the Rooms

Offering different room types is a must, and will thus require a variety of interior looks. Hiring an interior designer is highly recommended, especially when curating the designer home accessories that you want to include in your rooms. 

Seeing your rooms slowly transforming and getting put together is one of the most fun and fulfilling parts of starting a hotel. Unfortunately, it is also where owners tend to overspend.

iii. Hire the Staff

Finally, you simply cannot run your hotel alone. You will need an entire entourage of experienced personnel from front office clerks to the maintenance crew.

The keyword here is experience since establishing a great impression from the get-go is critical in the early stages of your hotel. You simply can’t afford to have trainees face your first guests.

3. Cleanliness Is the Key

There is nothing more horrifying than staying in a hotel room that is less than spic and span. Even finding a strand of hair in the bathtub is cringy regardless of your hotel’s intended class.

i. Keep Your Hotel Covid-19 Free

Cleanliness is even more crucial these days due to the global pandemic. It is wise to give a room thorough disinfection after it has been vacated. Create disinfecting stations within each room and along corridors as well with alcohol, hand sanitizers, and disinfecting wipes.

ii. Train the Staff

Professional disinfecting services can cost quite a sum if done every time a guest leaves. Hence, wouldn’t it be logistically easier to train your maintenance crew on how to do so, instead? 

4. Set Your Prices

As your new hotel is being constructed and while you are hunting for the right crew, this would mark the right time to decide on your prices.

While the finished aesthetic of your rooms and other facilities does play an important part in their rates, don’t forget that your set price will also determine the quality of service that your guests will expect from you.

5. Marketing Your Hospitality Business (aka Hotel Business)

It is never too early to start marketing your hotel or hospitality business. It builds anticipation and ramps up the potential revenue. It also lets you establish a reputation for your brand even before you start your operations. 

i. Website / Free Online Resources

Starting a Hospitality Business: 5 Simple Things for SuccessOne of the best (not to mention cheapest) ways to promote your hotel or hospitality business is through digital marketing. We are living in an online world, after all. 

We believe that every reputable hotel should have an impressive website to match. If your hotel is the physical representation of your brand offline, then think of your website as your digital representation online. 

Beyond brand promotion, your website should also serve as an online platform that extends the convenience and comfort you offer your guests. They should be able to book accommodations, get answers for their queries, and sneak a peek at what they can expect from staying at your hotel.

Your website should not be your only mark online as well. There are numerous other platforms that you can leverage to build your online reputation and client engagement. Social media websites are free to use and have billions of active users per day.

ii. Encourage Online Reviews

Speaking of social media, don’t just speak for your brand, let your guests speak of it as well. User-generated content in the form of online reviews can do wonders for your online reputation. That’s because they are viewed with more credibility.

There are numbers that back this up. Recent statistics have found that 81 percent of travelers check hotel reviews online before booking a room, while a whopping 96 percent consider past guest reviews critical in researching possible accommodations.

While you can expect to get online reviews organically, there are ways to encourage your guests to leave you one before they leave your establishment. Here are some of our tried-and-tested favorites:

  • Provide an incentive. Give your loyal guests a little bonus during their next stay if they leave their feedback online.
  • Promote them online. A lot of guests love a quick shout-out on social media, and what better way to honor them after leaving their feedback by featuring them on your online platforms? Just don’t forget to get their consent before doing so.
  • Follow-up with an email. Don’t forget to obtain a guest’s email address so you can send them notifications of upcoming events and follow-up on how their experience went.

iii. Host Events

One of the easiest ways to promote your hotel or hospitality business, drive revenue, and strengthen partnerships with other companies is by hosting events. There are a lot of companies that are willing to work with hotels if that means being able to promote their products and services to your guests. 

What is more, multiple-day events will also motivate guests to extend their stay in your establishment and enjoy further amenities in between.

You also don’t need to host events on your own all the time. Feel free to invite other companies to rent your space either paid or for free with the agreement of booking rooms for their guests to stay in. 

It is the perfect way to fully-book your establishment, especially during off-peak season.

There are definitely other ways to promote your hotel or hospitality business aside from the methods we have mentioned above. Those we have featured, though, give you a solid place to start especially as a new owner.

Sum Up: Starting a hospitality business

Starting a Hospitality Business: 5 Simple Things for SuccessStarting a hotel, or any hospitality business for that matter is more challenging than just putting up a store. That is because you are not just providing a product or a short-term service. Instead, you are providing comfort and convenience. You are providing an escape and a refuge. You are providing safety and style. 

The entire process can be pretty overwhelming especially if you are not initially from the industry. Fortunately, you can break it down into different steps and factors, such as those we have shared with you above. 

Conducting your marketing research is a responsible way to start your hospitality business pursuit. This will give you an idea of the atmosphere of the hospitality industry in your chosen location. 

It will also give you an idea of whether it would be better to build your hotel from the ground up or simply make do with remodeling an existing structure into a hotel.

We understand why hotel owners are pretty particular with the interior design of their rooms, but we place greater priority on cleanliness, especially due to recent global events.

Finally, marketing is crucial when running any business. In fact, we even believe that the more you spend to attract guests to your establishment, the better your revenue will be.

We hope that we were able to give you a nice place to start as you go through this journey in the hospitality business and hotel ownership. Good luck!

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